12 Oct Is the U.S. Ready for a Resurgent Al Qaeda?
As a resurgent Al Qaeda threatens to show its consideration away from violent sectarian conflicts within the Center East and goal the West once more, a number one counter-terrorism skilled questions whether or not Washington can devise an efficient technique when “we nonetheless don’t have deep information of the enemy.”
In response to Ali Soufan, a former FBI supervisory particular agent and present member of the Homeland Safety Advisory Council, even probably the most aggressively deliberate and executed army ways in opposition to Islamic terror teams are doomed with out psychological perception and appreciation of centuries of Center East historical past.
“We have to have a imaginative and prescient going ahead,” he instructed a current seminar sponsored by the John Jay Faculty Middle on Terrorism.
“Why do you may have people keen to blow themselves up for an evil ideology?” stated Soufan, himself a Muslim—and he famous that answering that query has by no means been so essential.
Ali Soufan. Picture by Nancy Bilyeau/TCR
“Probably the most potent weapon isn’t a gun, a knife, or a bomb; it’s an ideology.”
Soufran was increasing on factors raised in his new e-book “Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of Bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State,” which describes the historical past of Al Qaeda earlier than and after 9/11, the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS), and the waning risk of ISIS simply as a rejuvenated Al Qaeda presents itself to the West—probably with Osama Bin Laden’s son Hazma as its new chief.
Soufan stated understanding the enemy requires what he outlined as “medical empathy.”
When requested about his repeated use of the phrase “evil” in descriptions of the people and teams written about in Anatomy of Terror, Soufan stated the phrase selection is deliberate.
He dislikes the phrase “radical Islam,” saying, “It’s not radical and it’s not Islam.”
He additionally disagrees with the idea of financial forces forging the leaders of those terrorist teams.
“Most of those persons are not poor,” he identified.
Soufan was largely dismissive of claims of a “dwindling” ISIS, and ridiculed its taking credit score for the mass taking pictures in Las Vegas earlier this month that killed 58 folks.
“If I have been to fall down the steps, they’d take credit score for it,” he stated.
Nonetheless, for Soufan, who was the FBI’s lead investigator of Al Qaeda after the 9/11 terror assaults, the group based by Osama bin Laden is certainly now the better risk.
Mockingly, America’s $2 trillion conflict on terror has turned a core of some 400 dedicated members of Al Qaeda pre-9/11 right into a far bigger group, even after Osama Bin Laden was shot to loss of life and Khalid Sheik Mohammed was captured.
“Sixteen years after 9/11, now we have 1000’s and 1000’s of followers adhering to Bin Laden’s concepts,” Soufan stated.
The West’s lack of political engagement with the leaders within the Center East after the Arab Spring was a missed alternative, Soufan stated.
“We have to use all of the instruments in our toolbox to battle the extremist narrative.”
Now, he added, the U.S. urgently must pursue full political and diplomatic engagement with these leaders.
“We have to use all of the instruments in our toolbox to battle the extremist narrative and create a counter- narrative,” Soufan instructed the October 6 seminar.
A type of instruments is discrediting Al Qaeda each time attainable with refined public relations efforts, using social media, to discourage recruitment.
However the U.S. additionally must kind native alliances, and demanding extra of the nation’s current allies within the area is essential, argued Soufan.
“We speak about democracy and human rights, however when it comes all the way down to it, we don’t care about these issues,” he stated.
“We should have the braveness to pressure our allies to do what they should do.”
Nancy Bilyeau is Deputy Editor (Digital) at The Crime Report. She welcomes readers’ feedback.